Earlier today I blogged about the "fringe" healthcare protests and the responses by some of the Democrats on the Hill. Now however, the Democratic Party has gone yet another step further in denouncing the opposition's message. In a memo that was distributed earlier today, Democrats blasted the protests calling them a "sham" and that they were "being organized and largely paid for by Washington special interests and insurance companies who are desperate to block reform."
The memo went on to say, "We need to expose these outrageous tactics, and we're counting on you to help. Can you read these '5 facts about the anti-reform mobs,' then pass them along to your friends and family?" (Note the attempt to label the protests something really negative like 'anti-reform' mobs. That, of course, is not an 'outrageous tactic' at all).
Some more snippets from the memo:
2. People are scared because they are being fed frightening lies. These crowds are being riled up by anti-reform lies being spread by industry front groups that invent smears to tarnish the President's plan and scare voters...
3. Their actions are getting more extreme. Texas protesters brought signs displaying a tombstone for Rep. Lloyd Doggett and using the "SS" symbol to compare President Obama's policies to Nazism. Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hanged in effigy outside his district office. Rep. Tim Bishop of New York had to be escorted to his car by police after an angry few disrupted his town hall meeting...
4. Their goal is to disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation. Protesters have routinely shouted down representatives trying to engage in constructive dialogue with voters, and done everything they can to intimidate and silence regular people who just want more information. One attack group has even published a manual instructing protesters to "stand up and shout" and try to "rattle" lawmakers to prevent them from talking peacefully with their constituents.
5. Republican leadership is irresponsibly cheering on the thuggish crowds. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a statement applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."
First things first. The fact that the DNC felt the need to assemble such a list suggests they're worried about the fate of their beloved health care plan. But this memo may prove only to backfire because as soon as those crazy mob-members smell fear, well, then it's all over.
As for their emphasis on scare tactics, I'm pretty sure that if I really wanted to convince Americans that health care reform really is all it's cracked up to be, I wouldn't go about it by trying to frighten people with stories about effigies immediately after accusing the protestors of "frightening" the public with false claims. Furthermore, it wasn't that long ago that hatred of George W. Bush was spreading through the country like swine flu on a crowded airplane. I'd be willing to bet there has been more than one W. effigy.
As for number four, not every American is desperate for nationalized health care, yet lawmakers continue to push it day in and day out. Many of those people simply want an outlet to express their concerns—and legislators who will actually listen. So making the case that their goal is simply to "disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation" is a stretch at best.
Simply put, the left is attempting to discredit a legitimate message by attacking the messengers. Yes, fringe elements exist (as they do in every movement), but placing all the focus on that element makes it tough to have the "legitimate conversation" the Democrats say they desperately want.
But unfortunately, rounding up the opposition and labeling them "extreme" and "thuggish" in order to push an agenda seems to be the crux of the left's strategy these days.